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Flyers' playoff hopes hang in the balance at start of road trip

The Flyers need nearly a perfect road trip to stay in the mix in the East.
Steve Mason and company will have their hands full away from home this week.Getty Images

As the Flyers embark on a daunting four-game road trip, their playoff lives are being held together by a combination of Elmer’s glue and Scotch tape.

Trailing the Maple Leafs by seven points for the final wild card berth heading into Tuesday’s games — and not to mention they still need to leapfrog the Islanders and Lightning — coach Dave Hakstol’s club has little to no margin for error.

Plus, the schedule makers have not made it easy for them on their trek across the country and Canada.

They have to nearly run the table against the Jets, who are in a desperate fight for a postseason berth, and the Wild, Blue Jackets and Penguins, all of whom are among the top six teams in the league.

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“We have circled this road trip a while back and we are playing some tough teams and some good teams,” captain Claude Giroux said following Sunday’s come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes in overtime. “We are ready for it and pretty excited to get it going.”

Maybe so, but the numbers speak otherwise.

Although the Flyers have played well at the Wells Fargo Center, opponents’ ice has not been as kind. They are 12-19-4 this season on the road, have won just two of their last 10, been outscored 37-22 during the span and dropped three straight.

Meanwhile, the combined home record of the four teams they will face is a whopping 95-41-6.

“We have an extremely tough task ahead of us,” goalie Steve Mason said. “We are going to have to have our best game each and every night on this trip in order to keep the season alive here. I’m sure the boys are looking forward to some fun games here.”

If the Flyers are to pull off the unthinkable and return home with at least seven-to-eight points, they are going to need to improve on their woeful special teams, get better goaltending and limit the mistakes, especially in their own end.

They are also going to need the Maple Leafs, Islanders and Lightning to go on losing streaks.

“Everybody understands the position we're in and what it’s going to take in order to come out on top,” Mason said. “We have to find that consistency. That is the biggest thing right now."

Their coach also cautioned that they need to focus on the Jets first on Tuesday night before worrying about the other three games.

“You can’t look too far down the road,” Hakstol said. “It’s a tough road trip. It’s a challenging road trip, and we know exactly where we sit.”

 
 
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